It is worth noting that this time period was originally based on the Jewish agricultural cycle of offering the first early spring crop: barley, from the field to the Priests(esses) and continuing to do so each day as the wheat crop ripened; with the intention of gratitude, knowing that all sustenance was due to and ultimately dedicated to our Creator. Just as the sheaf of barley, the Omer, was waved in all 6 directions like the lulav is during Sukkot, now we wave our active honing in all directions through this mindfulness process where prayer has replaced physical offerings.
At this time when so many of us are ‘landless’ and even those who ‘own’ land are often settlers on stolen land of people who may still be here but whose ancestors were eradicated through genocide and other atrocious acts of colonization and corresponding imperialism, I wonder as we are working to liberate ourselves and this planet from the shackles of a civilization gone awry, if our offerings via this process are enough?
As I prepare to climb a mountain with community tomorrow, a mountain that the First Nation Abenaki people of this land found too sacred to climb, I ask myself have I swept my sefirot in this living temple empty enough? What can I do to clear out this space even more and maintain the space for Divine emanation to fill, echo through, infuse, and crack open for planetary healing?
In solidarity with Rabbi Seidenberg’s effort in his scholarly Kabbalah & Ecology to “enable Jewish theology to sustain a more biocentric reading of Torah & the Jewish tradition,” (p. xvii) I invite us to ask what is that we can do in addition to Counting the Omer to offer to Divinity?
The ecological boundaries of our planet and of our species’ limited power are becoming more prevalent today as the 6th Extinction ensues. The Kabbalah teaches that “the Jewish covenant and human action serve to bring blessings to all of Creation, not just to the Jewish people and not just to humanity.” (DS, Kabbalah & Ecology, p. 37) Knowing instinctively that humans are just a step in this planet’s evolution, it is possible that our time here is waning, considering the earth’s carrying capacity and our overall choices of planetary citizenship offering. I suggest that our frequent lack of offering physical harvest before partaking may contribute to the excessive plundering from which our civilization has grown.
As portals in our society evolve to overcome falsely constructed dualities such as gender polarity, attempt to unshackle imperialist power based on white privilege, transform perverse power dynamics such as racism & patriarchy, and redistribute ancient inequality dynamics of economic disparity, the question remains how do we put the microphone to the voices of all the ancestral bones beneath our feet? How is that the scariest parts of ourselves are currently plastering mainstream news? How do we decolonize our civilization? How do we keep carbon in solid form? How can we become biota that capture carbon and sequester it for life supporting habitat rather than life negating coffins?
According to rabbinic literature our species bridges ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ realms. Regardless of whether or not you believe in a cosmic hierarchy, it behooves us to continually seek to understand our niche and role in the ecological community within which we are nested. As an Ashkenazi woman, I have encountered the limits of racial prejuidice within this group I am apart of and fiercely try to grow beyond these barriers to connect with the rest of our people. Beyond that I stretch outside of the limits of ‘our people’ to transcend this tribal framework to connect with all of humanity. In this time in which people of the earth and First Nation people in particular are reclaiming their birthright sovereignty, I witness the calling for us to heal the fragments within ourselves, our identities, our multiple identities, and our beyond identities. This is not easy work and likely will take more than 49 days & even 49 years. According to my ancestors’ creation story we all had dark skin and came from a garden where we technically still live today; perhaps the physical offering I suggest we could add to this inner work would be to declutter our current internal and external landscapes. This is likely defined differently for each of us, according to our individual purposes and yet there is likely a thread that unites our individual callings that as a collective we can discover and offer effectively together. So may it be that we all are able to know & do our piece of the work to open to the everpresent revelation that allows us to be in liberating service for and with all.